Rock Art & Crocs- Cobourg to Jabiru
September 18th

It’s always ever so slightly time-consuming to pack up a semi-permanent campsite. One finds that an otherwise barren campground has been converted into your home away from home- critters have become neighbours, flora and shells your interior decorations- and the tent, your collapsible home with great air-flow. When you finally camp for more than 3 nights, you derive great joy in pulling out all those little extras one normally doesn’t bother with, such as: extra tarps for shade, a hammock, extra water bottles, the fishing gear and boat, the computer, the lawnmower, the sprinkler, and all those little candle holdery thingees.

Come the morning to pack up- and it’s a much more onerous task to re-pack all these knick-knacks from their secret hiding spots so secret that you can’t remember where they go back. Anyway, by 11am and after an impromptu cold shower by the side of a big shed filled with boats (44 degrees C), we had the boat on the roof, the bags packed and our wits about us, just!.

We headed back out through Arnhem Land and back down to Kakadu. No visible signs of the ceremony to be seen anywhere. We did however nearly have a head-on collision with our friends Andy and Karen, who swamped us in a blaze of dust along the road. Under strict instructions not to stop in Arnhem Land- we hopped out in the blistering sun, slapped flies, munched chocolate, and quickly swapped news, then headed off our separate ways- sure to rejoin and form a coalition somewhere in the Kimberley.

We pushed on back to the East Alligator River without further deviation, only to find the river was quite high, fast flowing and rising. At first glance it was impassable. A big fat log lay annoyingly across the centre of the crossing. Marauding crocodiles munched on unsuspecting birds only metres away from where people stood, either fishing or waiting on the side of the bank. No one was game to wade out and push the log off the causeway, with a 3-metre bitie roaming around.

The penalty of living by this magnificent river with its 35-pound Barramundi and beautiful trees is that whenever the tide rises you can’t cross and whenever the crocs play up, it’s dangerous! This water might rise for hours.

After watching the log sneakily slip off to the side, and two other cars barely slosh their way to safety we decided to go for it. Without further ado, we jumped back into the car and anxiously nosed the car into the water.

The water swirled around the bonnet. The current caused the car to rock nervously from side to side. The tyres lost their grip for a split second. Our heart rates increased three-fold.

The current was so strong that water started to spurt out of the bonnet like a little fountain and we started thinking to ourselves “This is not a good idea!”

Phew! Success! Car intact! We made the crossing.

Slurping viciously on our cola flavoured mega-giant-icy-poles from the Border Store, we joyfully rejoined the bitumen road and headed south. We stopped at Nourlangie Rock on the way to check out some more Aboriginal Rock Art. The highlights included a picture of funky fan-dangle dancing figures and women from a ceremony. The thermometer reaching the 42-degree mark heralded the end of our day, and we hurriedly searched out a campsite with a pool.

Jabiru frontier van park delivered the goods with waterslide and all. The swim was a wonderful treat- quickly ruined however by a greasy chicken schnitzel from the caravan bistro. I think Cheryl sloshed too much tangy tomato, beaut BBQ, challenging Chilli and marvellous mayo on our plates.

On to Katherine tomorrow.
Civilisation seems somehow weird after remote Arnhem Land. People seem somehow softer, pudgier, more squishy, and vulnerable. Don’t really want to see another city right now. We want to continue to be purified by the wilderness.

Time to sleep. It’s so hot!

Il fait chaud mes amis…………….. bon nuit!!!! More soon.

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